12% GST on Sanitary Napkins, Where does your priority lie, Mr. FM?

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-Alefiya Anis Rangoonwala

When GST was introduced, it was not imposed on Sindoor. But guess what? A 12% of GST was imposed on sanitary napkins. What is more important for a woman, Sindoor or GST?

The utility of a Sanitary napkin is a fundamental right to every woman, vital to a dignified survival.

During the formulation of GST, the Government had made a few declarations , about the goods of national importance used in daily household would be exempted from taxes. So according to this Sanitary napkin was not included in this list. They said that sanitary napkins are only used during menstruation, this wasn’t even considered and they charged 12% of GST.

The use of GST on the Sanitary pad, when taken to the Delhi High court, the imposition of Tax was Unconstitutional. It also illegal and arbitrary. Why is it said unconstitutional? As, majority of them still face significant barriers to a comfortable and dignified experience with menstrual hygiene and management.

It is estimated approximately 88 per cent of menstruating women in India have no access to sanitary napkins, the root cause of approximately 70% per cent of all reproductive disease in Indian is poor menstrual hygiene.

Women use newspaper, dirty cloth during the menstruating days. Young girls and women wanting to go to school in India have to face a silent struggle.

Lack of privacy, safety and proper facilities when they reach puberty are barring many from their right to an education. In many parts of India, women are using saw dust, dry tree leaves, newspaper and old cloth during their menstrual days.

The State should not discriminate against any of the citizens on the basis of gender, caste, creed, religion or even place of their birth. So when the GST was applied on the Sanitary napkin, making it even pricier it violates the gender equality. The state cannot refuse equality before the law and equal defence of the law to any person within the territory of India. In other words , this means that no person, or group can demand special privileges. This right not only applies to the citizens of India but also to all the people within the territory of Indian.

The right to life and personal liberty, this article state that- “no person shall be deprived of his life, personal liberty except according to a procedure establish by law”

The increase prices on Sanitary napkin makes it even more difficult for the women, on the contrary, what is the logic behind making condoms tax-free while taxing sanitary napkins, tampons and other items of female reproductive hygiene at a steep 12 per cent? Plain and simple, it’s patriarchy in action, and the deep-seated taboo about menstruation being associated with uncleanliness, and menstrual blood being polluted.

To reduce the tax on Sanitary napkin, it is a loss by the government, it a loss of the economy, it is manufacturers loss. why aren’t the low cost sanitary napkins made available to those who need it?

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